Château Museum de Saint Malo!

So I am sticking around the wonderful Corsair city of Saint Malo. Lots of things to see here, and very nice old feel of my Brittany. This is again in dept 35 of Ille-et-Vilaine (ah forgot to tell you the name of the dept as usual in France are rivers) . And ,again, there are other posts on St Malo but feel the castle deserves a post of its own.

Therefore, on a cloudy rainy cool 7C weather in my neck of the woods, let me tell you a bit more on the Castle of St Malo.

The Château of Saint-Malo was built between the 15C and the 18C and located to the East of the closed town of Saint-Malo in Ille-et-Villaine dept 35 of the region of Brittany. The castle was built by the Dukes of Brittany to ensure the defense of the city of Saint-Malo.

saint malo

Saint-Malo, which had been ceded by the Duke of Brittany to the King of France in 1395, was returned in 1415 by the King of France Charles VI to Duke Jean V of Brittany, his own son-in-law. Shortly thereafter, in 1424, the latter began building the future castle by constructing the Grand Donjon on the isthmus which at that time was the only crossing point between the closed city and the mainland. The Grand Donjon is based on a portion of the 14C Saint-Malo primitive enclosure, namely the Petit Donjon and the western courting. However, the Castle of Saint Malo has the particularity to detach itself from the ramparts. The Grand Donjon is a high-level construction with a horseshoe. The result is an original silhouette with its large gable facing the city, its high roof which partly covers a path of crenate round on machicoulis and its two watchtowers.

saint malo

In 1475 the Duke of Brittany François II built the tour La Générale ( General tower) which is less high than the Grand Donjon, but more massive. His daughter Anne of Brittany, and future Queen of France, made built from 1498 to 1501 the Quic-en-Groigne tower so named because it would have been built against the will of the Local Malouins. The Duchess Anne of Brittany engraved the inscription “who will be so grumpy, for that is my pleasure”.

saint malo

In 1590 the Castle of Saint Malo was stormed by the inhabitants of Saint-Malo who wanted to prevent the Governor from delivering the city to supporters of the Protestant King Henri IV. The Governor is killed during the riot. In the 17C the bastion de la Galère in the form of a ship’s bow complements the defenses. During the reign of king Louis XIV, Vauban had changed the curtains and the upper parts of the towers to allow the installation of artillery pieces from 1690. Two buildings, acting as barracks, are built along the north and east wings.

saint malo

In 1765, king Louis XV had the Attorney General of the Parliament of Brittany, La Chalotais, imprisoned in the Castle.  At the French revolution the courting linking the Quic-en-Groigne towers and the General tower are suppressed. In the 19C, the castle became a barracks. This condition lasted until 1921. On that date, the municipality bought a part of the castle to install in 1927, the History Museum.

At the time of the liberation of Saint-Malo in 1944, during WWII, the castle was heavily damaged and subsequently restored.  The inner courtyard of the castle is bordered to the north and east by barracks dating from the early 18C. In the east side, the Mayor’s Office is adorned with carved woodwork from the late 17C, from an old ship-owner hotel in the city destroyed in 1944. Behind this building is the courtyard of the Galère. This name was given to the triangular bastion in the peak form which was added to the castle in the 16C and which was strengthened by Vauban because of its analogy with a ship’s bow.  Today the old barracks have been arranged and host the services of the City/Town Hall of Saint-Malo while the General Tower and the Grand Donjon house the Museum of history of the city and countryside Malouin or musée d’Histoire de la Ville et du Pays Malouin created in 1862.

The Museum occupies the Grand Donjon on three levels, the Tour du Général  on three levels and the Chapel of the Château de Saint-Malo. Its collections retain more than 8 000 pieces concerning the history of the city of Saint-Malo, the local ethnography, the memories of the captains in the long course around Cap-Horn (in the Solidor Tower).

The halls include paintings, models, objects by theme such as the Roman period to the voyage of Jacques Cartier; the peak of the port in the 17-18C; 19C personalities, such as Chateaubriand, Lammenais, Surcouf etc; fishing in Newfoundland; the way of life of the Malouins in the 17-18C; works by artists from the 19-20C. The Chapel contains, among others, liturgical objects and portraits of clerics. At the top of the Grand Donjon, in the watchtowers, the visitor can see a beautiful view panoramic of the  outskirts of the close town and the harbor.

Some webpages to help you plan your visit here are

City of Saint Malo and the Museum

Tourist office of St Malo on the ramparts fortification

Tourist office of Ille et Vilaine dept 35 on the Museum castle

Tourist office of Brittany on Saint Malo

In all a wonderful tour of a very old nice city of Saint Malo and its Castle museum that is a must to visit. Hope it helps you enjoy the visit.

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

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